Knowledge gained at fair could prove invaluable

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There is no denying that the latest job figures make depressing reading. Nationally, unemployment is at a 17-year high with 2.75m people out of work. In Portsmouth, 100 more people claimed Jobseekers Allowance in September than in August – the highest rise in the region.

With recession-hit companies reducing their workforces or not recruiting, it’s getting harder and harder to find a job – particularly for young people coming out of education.

The danger of this is that it breeds disillusionment, a feeling of hopelessness.

What we have to try to do is keep aspirations high among the generation now at school – and that’s why The News is enthusiastically backing the Portsmouth Opportunities Fair being held at the Guildhall on Sunday.

This isn’t a traditional jobs fair. Instead, it is aimed at 10 to 13-year-olds and their parents and is designed to show them what work is likely to be available in coming years and the skills that will be needed to fill those positions.

Organised jointly by the Portsmouth Education Business Partnership and the Shaping the Future of Portsmouth group, it’s the first event of its kind in the city and is very timely.

Because when the economy does finally start to pick up again and more jobs are created, then those coming through the education system need to be aware of what opportunities will be out there for them.

As Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who is also a city councillor in charge of planning, regeneration and economic development, says: ‘If parents can find an hour to go with their kids, that can make the difference for their children’s life choices.’

More than 100 firms will be on hand for a chat, there will be interactive showcases plus the chance to talk to local role models about their own career paths

It’s free to get in and is a great way of finding out what future career possibilities exist.

So we urge children and their mums and dads to get along to the fair and see what’s on offer. Because that knowledge could prove invaluable in the future.